Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is dealing with a critter problem.
Every year around this time, skunks and raccoons become more visible around campus, and university officials are attempting to trap and release those animals to keep them away from students and faculty.
The skunks are the main worry. In 2019, a few people on campus were sprayed by a skunk. So far, there have been no incidents this year, but the university is working to make sure that stays that way.
Luckily, students on campus have not had issues with the animals.
“They’re very docile. I’ve never had any problems with them, I’ve never heard of anyone having problems with them. So, we’re not afraid of them or anything, we just know they’re there,” said Miguel Mendoza, a TAMUCC senior.
“They’re not a problem. I’ll look at them, they look at me, and then they just run along,” said Alyssa Arrambide, a freshman.
One issue the university sees is if people leave food out for the stray cats, it will attract raccoons and skunks to campus. Most students see the animals in the morning or evening, and they are typically by the dumpsters near the dorms, or on the hiking trail.
“ I haven’t had any problems with them, I just see them, I avoid them, and just keep on going,” said John Shuler, a junior who typically sees one to two raccoons or skunks on his morning runs. “They pretty much just mind their own business if you don’t aggravate them. I haven’t aggravated any, they just kind of move back into the bushes where they came from.”
Raymond Herrera, a sophomore, said he sees the animals on the trails sometimes as well, but avoids them if he does.
“Sometimes if I see it a few yards away, and you see them staring at you, I’m like, just walk away, I’m not going to deal with them ill just walk away. If I leave them alone they’ll leave me alone,” Herrera said.
The students on campus know to respect the animals, and their space.
“I mean they’re wild animals, I don’t really consider them a problem. This is kind of where they live, we’re just here,” Arrambide said.
“I feel like we both kind of live and respect each others spaces,” said senior Edward Pecina, “kind of like a mutual harmony,” Mendoza added to Pecina’s comment.
The university is trying to capture and release the animals to protect students and staff, relocating the animals off campus. However, they have had issues with people tampering with the traps they set out. University officials are unsure if the people doing so are students, staff, or community members, but they are requesting people stop touching the traps.
For people concerned about the animals, the university assures them that the animals are released in a safe area.